Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (2/3)

This post is continued from Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (1/3)

Second Example: Analysis Paper

Dr. Fanning provided this prompt for a media analysis paper. Unlike the comparison/contrast we analyzed in the first blog post in this series, this analysis paper focuses on writing about a single source. Here’s the prompt:

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In this case, the writing prompt appears in the first lines:

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Your thesis sentence for this paper could be fairly simple: “After evaluating X source, I find that it excellently meets the needs and preferences of its audience, which is Y.”

But the paper itself isn’t that simple. Pay close attention to the “Details” paragraph.

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The details paragraph indicates that there are three elements that the teacher expects to see in this paper. The first is a summary of what you learn about the audience, including demographics, why people visit the website, and so on. This information is also what you “begin with” – not in the introduction, but in the first body paragraph after the introduction. Most likely, this information will constitute a body paragraph.

The second element is the set of artifacts the teacher expects to see discussed in relation to the audience, as laid out in the preceding paragraph. Here you are expected to critically analyze how well each element met audience needs, and offer an alternative that would have been better, if the website author did not do well, in your opinion.

Finally, the third element asks you to connect your understanding of who the audience is and what they want or need with the content that is actually presented. This paragraph pulls together the preceding two paragraphs and makes a clear statement about how well the website has addressed its audience.

Although some students would use the paragraph above as a conclusion, which would be functional, it would be far better to have a separate conclusion. Generally speaking, a conclusion should not introduce new information, and your analysis is new information.

Notice that the remaining information provides information on how the paper should be arranged and what the requirements are: check out How to read an assignment sheet and rubric for more information.

Continue to Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (3/3) for the next writing prompt example.

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